A couple nights a week I teach computer classes in Gaithersburg. Tonight, after all the students left, I packed up, got on my motorcycle and did not feel like going home. I was a bit hungry so I found myself thinking of the many possible diners I might ride to in Frederick or Baltimore or...
The result was a lone moon-lit ride from 355 traveling East on Clarksburg Road. There were many haunting thoughts, riding at night. Anywhere that there was light, it was a sign of human consiousness -- but sometimes I got faked out by a lone bulb lighting only the work yard between a ware house and a farmer's barn.
I found myself imagining the secret places that others find on such nights -- secret clubs in rural locations far enough from the road that there is no risk of any screaming being overheard and investigated. A lone lane into a darkened strand of trees: a place to elope with a rider for a night of love, or a place where an axe murder waits for those thoughtless couples?
Somehow, I eventually found my way north to 70, probably on 97. I took 70 East to the Baltimore Beltway, then South on mostly-empty freeways until I was cruising the streets closer to home. I filled the tank in a gas station where the unemployed who have no need to sleep hung out--a neighborhood where the poor were safe enough as nobody had money to buy or sell drugs, and they had fallen out of the habit of crime for any other reasons--before turning at last for home.